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Arrest Those Making Threats

It will be surprising if the Ohio Ethics Commission can tell St. Clairsville officials more than they know already about controversial social media posts by a city councilman and a contractor for the municipality.

But how to handle the issues has become a secondary consideration. Paramount now is concern about threats against some of those involved.

Controversy involving St. Clairsville officials pre-dates the current administration of Mayor Kathryn Thalman. In the past, it centered on whether to sell the municipal water and sewer systems to a private company.

Now, the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement has taken over center stage.

A social media post by city Councilman Perry Basile, including comments critical of BLM, surfaced several weeks ago. Basile apologized, saying he had attempted to share someone else’s statistical graph and had been unaware of attached statements about BLM. Basile aded that he supported black human rights groups.

Still, there were calls that Basile be removed from council. That can happen only through a recall petition signed by constituents in his ward.

Another social media controversy has surfaced. It involves a post by a contractor who does electronics and communications work for the city. Councilwoman Linda Jordan has said some African Americans found the post objectionable.

During their meeting Monday, council members were told by city Law Director Elizabeth Glick that she is seeking guidance on the two controversies. That may be weeks in coming.

Let us hope action by local enforcement agencies occurs more quickly.

Glick reported Monday that Thalman, Basile and the contractor have received threats, which have been reported to the authorities. Investigating the threats should be a top priority. Those responsible should be arrested.

What Basile and the contractor did has become controversial. There should be no disagreement about how to handle anyone who threatens another’s safety.

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